Plans unveiled for renewable energy hub at site of Fukushima disaster

Japanese officials have unveiled a new US$2.7 billion project that will transform the site of the Fukushima disaster into a renewable energy hub.

According to Japanese newspaper The Nikkei, 11 solar plants and 10 wind farms will be built on land contaminated by nuclear fallout after an earthquake and tsunami hit the Fukushima nuclear power plant in 2011. Construction is expected to be completed by March 2024.

The clean energy projects will produce up to 600MW of electricity – roughly two thirds the output of an average nuclear power plant – with key sponsors including the government-owned Development Bank of Japan and Mizuho Bank.

The plan also proposes the construction of an 80 km-wide grid within Fukushima to transmit electricity to the Tokyo Electric Power Company’s transmission system in the capital city. The new grid is estimated to cost $266 million.

The project forms a key part of Fukushima’s renewable energy drive after the nuclear disaster. In 2014, the prefecture announced a goal of attaining 40% of its electricity from renewables by 2020, followed by two-thirds in 2030, and 100% by 2040.